Motor City on the Move: Midtown Projects

The former Strathmore Hotel will be turned into apartments

By CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Staff Columnist

It’s pretty full in Midtown and Downtown, with an occupancy rate of 96% and 97% respectively. Downtown has some projects it will be starting soon, some will be finishing soon, and others are in the works. Midtown though, has a lot of projects going on.

With so many people wanting to live in Detroit, more places are needed to house them. Wayne State University is growing and ever-changing, the cultural center is becoming a main attraction for the area, and people want to live there.

A few of the projects going on in Midtown include some that are in progress, one that is finishing up, and some that are planned and set to begin very soon.

One apartment building in Midtown is being finished, and is quite popular in the area. The Auburn, a three-story apartment building, which has first floor retail is nearly finished, and will be ready for move-in on November 1.

The apartments are meant for college students, for Wayne State students, but of course, can be rented by anyone. Every apartment is a one-bedroom, except for four, of which those are studios. The rates range from $920-$995/month for the one-bedrooms, while the studios range from $780-$830/month.

The complex, which is located at Cass and Canfield, a few blocks off of Woodward, will have every retail spot occupied when opened. Doesn’t sound like Detroit does it? Well, I have news for you, people believe in this city, want to invest in this city, and Detroit is ready for a comeback.

On the ground floor, the following companies will call The Auburn home; Hugh, a housewares store; Topsoil, a vegetarian restaurant owned by the same people who run Russell Street Deli in Eastern Market; Go Cycle studios, a spin gym; Nora, a lifestyle store; Sy Thai and Source booksellers.

That’s not the only project in Midtown, however. Although it is pretty much done, there is one that is in progress, but it’s not an apartment building. A Whole Foods will be opening in Spring of 2013 on John R. and Mack Ave. in Midtown. Temporary walls are up and soon a roof will appear after the load bearing walls are built.

Whole Foods has walls!

It’s a huge project for not only Midtown, but for the city as a whole (no pun intended), to get a grocery store in the area, a large chain store.

Proposed plans are also in the works. A story that was broke by Curbed Detroit, the old Strathmore Hotel in Midtown, which is located on off of Woodward and Alexandrine, will soon be renovated and turned into apartments. The eight-story building never really was the best place, as it was a place for drug dealers, prostitutes and just all around bad stuff. Soon, it will have 129 units to live in.

Sue Mosey, of Midtown Detroit Inc., spoke to MLive, who broke the story, about the building. Midtown Detroit Inc., bought the building six months ago, and it is a $32 million project, with $29 million already raised. Mosey said she is looking to raise the final $3 million. It’s a pretty large building, and 5,000 square feet of it will be retail space.

Another project that Mosey is focused on is a block north of the former Strathmore Hotel, which by the way, has no new name yet. On the corner of Woodward and Willis, next to McDonald’s is where a new three-story mixed-use property will be built according to Mosey.The Garden Theater right on Woodward, is being renovated and renamed into the Woodward Theater. There is currently no projected finish date, but it will be turned into 32,000 square foot, 1,300 seat theater. Next to the theater is an empty lot, and on that lot will be a 61-unit apartment complex called the Woodward Gardens. The five-story building will have first floor retail as well.

Finally, another apartment project will be set to begin sometime late 2012, early 2013. The Forest Arms Apartments, or what used to be that, is going to be renovated. The building, located on Forest and 2nd Ave., will begin renovation soon. The apartment building suffered heavily from a fire in 2008, but was bought and will have 70 units, with a majority of them as one-bedroom apartments. It should be completed in about 18 months.

Many of these projects will enhance the city and bring more and more people, specifically young people to the area. When these projects are completed, it will showcase the area in a much brighter way. Midtown is a growing place to live, work, and play, and soon, more people will experience that.

To read the original post, that appeared in the fifth issue of The Michigan Journal, on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 go to www.michiganjournal.org

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